Wheelhouse Weekly – July 09, 2013


– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 17 . . . Number 28. . . July 9, 2013

(Look in the archives for this weeks Special Edition.)



Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the Archives section.


The Puerto Rico Hall will be closed on Thursday, July 25, for Constitution Day and on Friday, July 26, in honor of Jose Celso Barbosa, the father of the Puerto Rico statehood movement. The MM&P union halls in Seattle, San Francisco/Oakland and Los Angeles/Long Beach will be closed on Monday, July 29, for the ILWU holiday that commemorates the birthday of visionary labor leader and ILWU founder Harry Bridges.


Members of the MM&P United Inland Group (UIG) who work at Blue & Gold Fleet offered a helping hand to commuters during last week’s Bay Area (BART) transit strike. The commuter trains resumed service July 5, ending a 4 1/2-day work stoppage that blocked area roads and tripled ridership on ferries across the bay. “MM&P members did a great job getting people onto the seven boats that Blue & Gold Fleet had crewed up, and then taking everyone across the bay to Alameda and Oakland,” said Blue & Gold Captain Andy Miller.

On the first day of the strike, ferries on the evening commute operated by Captain Al Lewis and Captain Laura Smith carried at least four times the normal load of passengers. “Staying flexible was the key to surviving the mass of people gathered around the gate at the ferry building,” Miller said. From the wheelhouse of the ferry GEMINI, he watched as Blue & Gold staffers Alexie Brito, Karen Chavez and Oscar Oregan organized commuters into three lines to facilitate boarding. “All three did a great job of communicating and answering questions,” Miller said. “It was also great to see the very competent Blue & Gold Operations Manager Patrick Murphy down on the dock keeping the boats full and reassigning the boats on the spot to keep up with the loads of people who were waiting to get across the bay.”

“Falo Orcutt Faigiti was holding it all together as Lead Deckhand on the BAY MONARCH, which was carrying capacity loads of 600-700 to Oakland,” Miller said. “And on Pier 41, Lawrence Laperal–on his own–was doing work normally assigned to three people.” On day two of the strike, WETA Operations Vice President Keith Stahnke put another vessel into service: the Ferry DEL NORTE, on loan from the Golden Gate Bridge District. It was operated by Captain Forrest Fennel, a member of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), who concentrated exclusively on carrying passengers to Oakland from the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Ridership on the San Francisco Bay Ferry system returned to normal Monday after soaring as high as 19,600 riders on one day last week, said WETA spokesman Ernest Sanchez.  

“This is a highly professional group from top to bottom and I’m proud to represent them,” said MM&P United Inland Group Regional Representative Ray Shipway. “They showed tremendous initiative and drive in assisting the passengers and their shipmates during this extremely busy time.” 


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has officially commended Capt. Frank Segree and the crew of Dredge HURLY for their support of the Olmstead lock and dam construction project on the Ohio River. In an extremely short period of time, USACE officials said, the crew of Dredge HURLEY carried out mass excavation of the river bottom in preparation for the next phase of the project: pile driving and shell siting. “They helped jump-start the work required during the critical period of the low water construction season and demonstrated their capacity, efficiency and expertise,” the commendation reads. Capt. Segree is a member of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), as are Relief Master Joseph Schafer and First Mate Robert Brewer.

“Dredge HURLEY’s contributions during this time reflect great credit upon themselves, the Memphis District, the Mississippi Valley Division and the United States Army Corps of Engineers,” said a spokesperson for the USACE Louisville District.
The Olmsted Locks and Dam project is aimed at replacing Ohio River locks and dams 52 and 53 to significantly reduce tow and barge delays. The locks are located about 17 miles upstream from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers at Olmstead, Ill.


MM&P Captain Kevin Coulombe hoists the American flag above MAERSK MEMPHIS on page one of the most recent issue of the A.P. Moeller Maersk publication “Quality Gram.” MAERSK MEMPHIS is one of the eight new vessels purchased by Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) to upgrade the ocean transportation services provided to its U.S. military, government and commercial customers. Aboard MAERSK MEMPHIS on its first voyage under the U.S. flag are also Chief Mate Marc D. Northern, Second Mate Luis G. Lopez and Third Mate Robert G. Mattsen.

Overall, MM&P licensed deck officers will sail aboard six of the new vessels in a ship-for-ship replacement of six older vessels under contract with MM&P. MM&P officers are also aboard the recently reflagged MV MAERSK DENVER and the MV MAERSK DETROIT. 

“The efforts of the mariners onboard the transitioning vessels and colleagues ashore have been excellent, assuring a timely and smooth progression of the reflagging process,” says MLL President and CEO John Reinhart. The new vessels are about 10 years younger than the outgoing ships, offering improved fuel efficiency and environmental performance. Since 2000, MLL has invested over $1.75 billion dollars to modernize its fleet in support of the U.S. government and military. All the incoming vessels are joining the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA).


USNS SPEARHEAD, the Navy’s first joint high-speed vessel (JHSV), continues to attract media attention. The vessel, which is crewed by licensed deck officers who belong to the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), can carry 312 passengers and 600 tons of cargo at speeds of over 40 knots. The ship’s bridge resembles the cockpit of an airplane. “All functions are carried out right up on the bridge,” says Captain Douglas Casavant, who along with Captain Jose M. Delfaus serves as civil service master of the vessel. The bridge is manned by four civil service mariners while the ship is underway: a deck officer, an unlicensed seaman or boatswain, an engineer and the captain. Casavant described the ship’s characteristics in an interview published in SEA POWER, the official magazine of the Navy League of the United States.

The 338-foot-long SPEARHEAD rides on twin catamaran wave-piercing hulls. Sea-keeping is aided by two computer-controlled foils, each extending inboard of the catamarans, and two interceptive plates that function as trim tabs to improve the smoothness of the ride. “The faster we go, the more water flow crosses there, the more it helps make it a more comfortable ride,” Casavant said.

The ship is powered by four 12,800-horsepower MTU V-20 quad turbo diesel engines, two main engines per hull. The engines drive four water jets. The exhaust from the engines is vented through a cooling system and then out the underside of the hull rather than up through stacks.  “So far our economical cruising speed is right around 23 knots,” Casavant said, with fuel consumption under 800 gallons an hour with all four engines. “We’re testing it at different speeds for fuel consumption to find out the most economical ones.” SPEARHEAD is the lead ship of a class of 10 JHSVs being built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.


After a four-year strike that included rallies in the United States and abroad as well as a global boycott, UNITE HERE announced it has signed an agreement to negotiate a contract with Hyatt Hotels. The Chicago-based hospitality chain agreed on July 1 to what UNITE HERE has called “a fair process” for recognizing the union, along with raises of up to $13/hour for hotel staff. The agreement will allow the union to recruit new members at hotels in the chain without interference from Hyatt. The hotel workers employed a variety of tactics, conducting strikes in the United States, Canada and other countries. Union members across the United States will vote on the proposed contracts and if they agree to the terms, the boycott will end.


There will be a membership meeting at the MM&P New York/New Jersey Hall on Wednesday, July 10, at 1300 hours, immediately after job call. MM&P President Don Marcus will attend the membership meeting at the Charleston Hall scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 1100 hours. There will be union meetings in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall on July 10 and in the San Francisco/Oakland Hall on July 11. There will be a meeting at the Norfolk Hall on Wednesday, July 17 at 1200 hours.


Union Plus offers members of labor unions savings on a wide variety of services. Here are a few of the benefits to keep in mind. If you’re planning a move, Union Plus offers discounts on interstate moving, packing and in-transit storage, with peak rates waived year-round. Union members also receive: free $50,000 of full replacement coverage from North American Van Lines; double property protection coverage from Allied Van Lines; on-time delivery guarantee–union members receive $125 per day if the interstate delivery date is missed due to no fault of the member. Union members save hundreds of dollars on a typical interstate or long-distance move. Save money by doing your own packing: through Union Plus, you can receive an average 25 percent discount on boxes and packing supplies, and a 20 percent discount on Budget Truck Rental.

And if you’re in a gift-giving frame of mind, remember that Union Plus offers 20 percent off flowers from Teleflora. The following kitchen ware products are all union-made: All-Clad (USW); Anchor Hocking (GMP); Claus Kitchen Knives & Lawn and Garden Tools (UAW); Corelle Dishware (USW); Cutco Cutlery (USW); Electrolux vacuums (IAM); Fiestaware (GMP); Homer Laughlin (GMP); Libbey Glassware (GMP); and Picuzzi photo books (GCIU).

Don’t know what gift to give? Why not a gift card from a store staffed by members of the UFCW? Examples are: Albertsons; Fry’s; Giant; Kroger; Macy’s; Meijer; Safeway; and Vons.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) will enter into force on Aug. 20, 2013.  It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


NOTE:  New Dedicated Fax Line for Admissions Only:  Fax: 1-443-568-1928, all other MITAGS business should continue to use:  410-859-5181.

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  Please be advised that the schedule is subject to change.  For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

AB – 8/19/13

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/13/13, 9/24/13

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 7/22/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 8/26/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  8/19/13, 9/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/12/13

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 7/29/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/23/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 9/9/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 8/5/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 8/12/13

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 7/29/13, 9/9/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/26/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 7/22/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/9/13, 9/23/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/5/13, 9/16/13, 9/30/13

CMM-VPEN – 9/16/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/30/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 8/26/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications:  8/27/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 7/22/13, 8/12/13

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 7/8/13, 8/19/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 9/16/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 9/23/13

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 8/5/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/24/13, 9/25/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership: 8/19/13

MCL OICNW –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/3/13

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  7/26/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 9/9/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/29/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/9/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/28/13, 8/17/13, 9/14/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/19/13, 9/30/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/19/13, 9/30/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/23/13, 10/4/13

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 7/10/13, 7/24/13, 8/1/13, 8/14/13, 8/28/13, 9/11/13, 9/18/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/12/13, 9/23/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 8/5/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/13, 9/4/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 8/12/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 8/19/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/24/13

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/26/13

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 7/29/13, 9/16/13

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

July 2013

15-19     ECDIS
15-26     GMDSS
22-26     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
29-2       Medical Care Provider

August 2013

5-16       Celestial Navigation
6-7          Successful Safety Management Systems Workshop
12th       Radar Renewal 
12th       Med DOT
12-23     GMDSS
19-23     Medical Care Provider
20th       RFPNW Assessments
26-30     ECDIS
26-30     Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage